You are here:

German Law/German Citizenship + paternity


I gave birth to a baby in the United States. The child's father is a naturalized German citizen living in Germany. He refused to sign her birth certificate when he came down for her birth because he did not want to pay child support. I would like my child to have German citizenship. I plan on moving to Germany soon and would like to know what steps I must take to make that happen. If he refuses to claim paternity and I am forced to sue him, would I be able to have him pay all cost associated with the case? I am an American living in The US moving to Germany soon.

Also, is it possible to do anything thing fom the US? And must everything be done before my child turns one?

Thank you in advance

Hello Shelby,

you will need to sue the father for establishment of paternity. The court will then give him a chance to acknowledge paternity or otherwise order a DNA test. If the test will prove paternity, the father will have to bear all the expenses incurred by the litigation and the DNA test.

Because the father lives in Germany and you are planning to move there, I would recommend to sue him in Germany. You can instruct a lawyer already before getting there. If you do not have sufficient funds, you can qualify for German legal aid. You do not need to be a German citizen or resident for that.

Once paternity will have been legally established, your child will be a German citizen. You as the mother will then qualify for a German residence permit in accordance with 28 I Nr. 3 AufenthG.

There is no specific deadline for filing for paternity, but the father will only be obligated to pay child support from the time of the lawsuit on, so the earlier the better.

I wish you all the best!

Andreas Moser

German Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

©2017 All rights reserved.